Arrow’s Charlie Barnett On Finding The “Heart And Soul” For The New Deathstroke

Credit: The CW

Arrow‘s future scenes are setting up an epic to be told in its potential spin-off: Green Arrow and the Canaries. One of the biggest twists offerred in this future timeline is that of J.J. Diggle (Charlie Barnett), John (David Ramsey) and Lyla (Audrey Marie Anderson) son, who grows up to be the leader of the Deathstroke gang.

Talking with Entertainment Weekly, Barnett discussed digging into his complicated character.

Barnett, known for his role in Netflix’s Russian Doll, said that the internal struggle to J.J. drew him to the charcter.

“I could tell that this is a person struggling with what they thought they should do to support [themselves because of] the challenges that have come their way and also to try to do what he thought was best. I love playing any kind of character that’s dynamic like that.”

He also added that the stuntwork drew him in, “Also aside from that, the fights are so badass. I just wanted to fight, and Arrow’s fights the sickest on TV.”

While J.J. appears to have markers of being a sociopath to viewers, Barnett says that the real is a lot more complex and depth than that.

“He has been dealt, in his mind, a s–t card. He feels like he has been forgotten and left, specifically by his family, and kind of misplaced. From that, he hasn’t had a guide. More specifically, he hasn’t had his father to help lead him because his father has been preoccupied, which I think is something that a lot of people in this world, outside of the universe of like superheroes, can truly, truly relate to.”

With Barnett taking up the mantle of Deathstroke following the excellent portrayal by Manu Bennett, the question comes up if he was inspired by Bennett’s performance.

“It’s kind of built into the show that he spans larger than just one person or one entity. This character is almost given off to other people who want to take over the helm. That’s how I’m taking it. But for that, I didn’t want to pull anything necessarily from different performances. I wanted to attack on my own, from J.J.’s standpoint. I did want to keep the strength. The strength is undoubtedly there for him on both. But I feel like my character is a little more emotional just because of the relationships to many of the leads.”

It sounds like Barnett will be bringing a lot of the future forwards as J.J. and we can’t wait to see where it goes next.

Arrow airs on Tuesdays at 9/8c on The CW.

Bec Heim